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Exactly How To Reheat Nacho Cheese – I Test 3 Methods [Pics]

If by some chance you’ve found yourself with leftover nacho cheese, you may be pondering whether or not you can keep it to reheat for later use.

That creamy texture. That silky golden cheddary flavor. Nacho cheese is a guilty pleasure of mine. (Can you tell?).

Cheese sauce can be a little tricky to reheat, and you run the risk of it splitting or becoming too runny.

To stop this from happening, I’ve tried out three different reheating methods to establish which one works best for restoring your nacho cheese sauce to its original glorious, gooey state.

How you store it is just as important as how you reheat it, so I’ve included guidelines for how to keep your nacho cheese tasting as fresh as possible.

A note on my experiment

I believe that there’s no such thing as too much nacho cheese. Unfortunately, this means I regularly end up making too much of it, as I did over the weekend.

Do you know what that means? Sunday night nachos.

On a mission to get my nacho cheese back to its smooth, saucy state, I experimented with three different reheating methods:

  • Reheating nacho cheese in a double boiler (best method overall)
  • Reheating nacho cheese in a frying pan (good results but requires careful monitoring)
  • Reheating nacho cheese in the microwave (convenient, but high risk for overheating)

The double boiler method produced the best results. While it was a little more effort than the other techniques I tried, it is a safe and foolproof way to reheat nacho cheese that leaves it tasting almost as good as new.

The frying pan method also worked well and retained the sauce’s flavors, but it’s easy to over-warm and break your sauce with direct heat. Consequently, this technique can be a little tricky.

The microwave also produced surprisingly good results. It’s undoubtedly the quickest and most convenient method, but a few seconds too long can spell disaster for your nacho cheese.

Reheating nacho cheese in a double boiler

Set your stove to medium and fill a pot with approximately 2 inches of water. Rest a glass bowl over the water and place your leftover nacho cheese inside it. While it warms, stir it continuously. This may take a few minutes. Once your nacho cheese is runny, remove it from the heat and serve.

This method renders nacho cheese nearly as good as freshly made, restoring its texture and delicious cheesy taste.

How to reheat nacho cheese in a double boiler:

  1. Set your stove to medium heat.
  2. Place approximately 2 inches of water into a pot.
  3. Rest a durable glass bowl on the edges of the pot, over the water, but not touching it.
  4. Place your leftover nacho cheese in the bowl.
  5. While the water simmers, stir your sauce continuously.
  6. Once warm and runny, remove your nacho cheese from the stove and serve.

This method is effective because it utilizes indirect heat to warm your nacho cheese. The bowl serves as a buffer between the warm water and the sauce itself.

However, you need to make sure the water doesn’t start to boil, as this will overheat your sauce. Barely a simmer is enough to heat the bowl and warm your sauce, and low heat is key.

Continuously stirring your nacho cheese will keep its consistency smooth while ensuring it warms through evenly.

If you notice signs that your sauce is becoming runny or wanting to curdle, remove it from the heat immediately, as it has become too hot.

My verdict

This is my reheating method of choice for nacho cheese. It is a safe and easy-to-control way to warm it up slowly and thoroughly.

Because it utilizes low indirect heat, there is also very little chance of breaking your sauce.

Best of all, it leaves your nacho cheese tasting freshly-made, restoring all of its creamy flavor and texture.

It’s a little more effort than the other two methods I tried, but it’s a lot less risky in terms of results.

Reheating nacho cheese in a frying pan

Set your stove to low heat. Place your leftover nacho cheese in a small frying pan and place it on the stove plate while it is warming up. Stir the sauce continuously. As soon as it is warmed through and taken on its original texture, remove your nacho cheese from the stove and serve.

It’s pretty easy to overheat nacho cheese on the stove, so keep your heat levels low and monitor it closely, removing it as soon as it’s warm.

How to reheat nacho cheese in a frying pan:

  1. Set your stove to a low heat setting.
  2. Place your leftover nacho cheese in a small frying pan and set it on the warming stove plate.
  3. Stir the sauce continuously.
  4. Once warmed through, remove from the heat, and serve immediately.

Choose a pan with a relatively heavy bottom that is a good size for the quantity of sauce you’re trying to heat.

A pan that is too big will make it hard to stir your nacho cheese. Too small, and it might heat unevenly.

The stovetop is a direct heating technique, so if you suspect your pan is getting too hot, lift it from the heat now and then. Slowly does it.

Keep an eye out for any signs of your sauce splitting. When it starts becoming runny, it may be overheating.

My verdict

I was impressed with the results of this method, primarily because of how it restored the delicious flavor of my nacho cheese.

However, I had to be very careful, as it felt at one stage like the sauce might break (don’t worry, I rescued it by removing it from the heat and giving it a good whisk).

Reheating nacho cheese in the microwave

Place your nacho cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap pierced with a few small holes. On medium heat (50%), warm it in 10-second intervals, stirring well between each. Once it has taken on a liquid consistency and is evenly warmed, remove and serve immediately.

In terms of convenience, the microwave method is the way to go. However, it also has the highest chance of breaking your sauce, so go slow and keep stirring.

How to reheat nacho cheese in the microwave:

  1. Place your nacho cheese in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and pierce it with a few small holes.
  3. On 50% heat, warm your sauce in 10-second intervals.
  4. Between each pause, stir your nacho cheese thoroughly.
  5. Once pourable and warmed through, remove it from the microwave and serve.

Ten seconds might seem too short, but short timeframes are the best way to prevent your sauce from breaking.

Stirring the sauce throughout the warming process will help to maintain its texture.

If your cheese sauce starts to curdle, look greasy, or become runny, you’ve overheated it. Try stirring in a splash of cream to bring it back together.

My verdict

In terms of convenience, this method is king. However, I was a bit nervous that a matter of seconds could break my sauce.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t fault the taste or texture of my microwaved nacho cheese.

How to store nacho cheese

To store nacho cheese in the fridge, first allow it to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it into an airtight container. Next, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the sauce itself. Seal the container with its lid and place it in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 4 days.

Allowing your nacho cheese to cool before storing it will prevent moisture build-up inside the container.

The plastic layer stops it from forming a dry crust and holds in the sauce’s existing moisture.

Leave room between the lid and the sauce to allow for expansion as it cools down.

Nacho cheese will solidify in the fridge but will melt again once it is reheated.

Can you freeze nacho cheese?

To store nacho cheese in convenient quantities, portion it into ice cube trays, cover, and place them in the freezer. Alternatively, place your leftover nacho cheese in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag. Remove excess air from the bag, seal it tightly and flatten or smooth out the sauce for easy storage.

Nacho cheese freezes well without losing taste or texture, provided you thaw and reheat it correctly.

How to freeze nacho cheese:

  1. Cool your nacho cheese to room temperature.
  2. Portion it into ice cube trays.
  3. Cover your ice cube trays and place them in the freezer.

Alternative:

  1. Place cooled nacho cheese in a zip-lock bag.
  2. Remove excess air from the bag.
  3. Seal the bag tightly.
  4. Flatten it gently, spreading out the sauce evenly.
  5. Place in the freezer.

If possible, you should keep your frozen dairy products at a consistent temperature of 0°F (-18°C). This extends their shelf life and upholds their overall taste.

If you don’t have covers for your ice cube trays, you can transfer your nacho cheese “blocks” into an airtight freezer bag once they have frozen solid.

Tip: Use a straw to remove excess air from your freezer bag bags before sealing it.

Nacho cheese can last for up to 6 months in the freezer.

How to thaw nacho cheese

The best way to thaw frozen nacho cheese is to place it in the fridge overnight and let it defrost naturally. If you’re in a hurry, you can speed up the process by running the bag (or the bottom of the ice tray) under lukewarm water.

Thawed cheese sauces may appear watery or greasy. Don’t worry – vigorous whisking goes a long way to bringing the sauce back together.

How to reheat frozen nacho cheese

Once thawed, you can reheat frozen nacho cheese using any of the above methods. However, you need to keep the heat as low as possible, check it frequently, and stir it constantly.

If your cheese sauce breaks, or you notice grease, curdling, or thinning, you can rescue it by adding a small amount of liquid (cream/milk/water) and whisking it thoroughly.

How long does nacho cheese last?

To keep your nacho cheese fresh, creamy, and tasty, take note of the following guidelines for storing it safely.

  • Room temperature: Nacho cheese can be left out for up to two hours. But as it contains dairy products, it’s best to store it as soon as it has cooled down.
  • Refrigerated: You can keep nacho cheese in the fridge for up to four days. Store-bought varieties last longer and will have guidelines on their packaging.
  • Frozen: Frozen nacho cheese lasts for up to six months in the freezer without any noticeable compromise to its taste or texture.

How to keep nacho cheese warm

There are a few ways to keep nacho cheese warm.

You can serve it from a crockpot set to low heat or place it in a fondue pot with a burner underneath.

Another way to keep nacho cheese liquid and lovely is to place it in a heatproof bowl atop a heating tray.

Personally, I’m a big fan of candle sauce warmers. These convenient containers comprise a safe fuel and wick lighting system that keep sauces warm at a steady heat for up to six hours.

The Best Way To Reheat Nacho Cheese

I’ve tried three different reheating methods to establish which one works best for restoring your nacho cheese sauce to its original glorious, gooey state.
No ratings yet
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person
Calories 306 kcal

Equipment

Double boiler

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion nacho cheese
  • 2 cups water for the double boiler

Instructions
 

  • Set your stove to medium heat.
  • Place approximately 2 inches of water into a pot.
  • Rest a durable glass bowl on the edges of the pot, over the water, but not touching it.
  • Place your leftover nacho cheese in the bowl.
  • While the water simmers, stir your sauce continuously.
  • Once warm and runny, remove your nacho cheese from the stove and serve.

Notes

This method is effective because it utilizes indirect heat to warm your nacho cheese. The bowl serves as a buffer between the warm water and the sauce itself.
However, you need to make sure the water doesn’t start to boil, as this will overheat your sauce. Barely a simmer is enough to heat the bowl and warm your sauce, and low heat is key.
Continuously stirring your nacho cheese will keep its consistency smooth while ensuring it warms through evenly.
If you notice signs that your sauce is becoming runny or wanting to curdle, remove it from the heat immediately, as it has become too hot.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 306kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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